Squamous Lung Cancer ‘Master Protocol’ Brings Cancer Research into the 21st Century

Clinical trials help determine whether new cancer treatments are safe and effective, and they provide access to cutting-edge drugs that patients wouldn’t otherwise be able to have. But the clinical trial system is notoriously inefficient, slow, expensive, and laborious. Now, a new and ambitious clinical trial design called the Lung Cancer Master Protocol seeks to overhaul the system, promising to benefit patients and drug companies alike. Continue reading…

Lung Cancer Clinical Trial Debuts New Approach to Genetic Testing in Cancer Studies

Targeted therapies directed at specific cancer mutations have drastically improved cancer treatment for many patients. However, most targetable mutations occur only in a small percentage of patients, which complicates clinical trial logistics. Investigators can expect to test around 140 individuals to find one who is eligible for their trial. Conversely, patients may have to undergo scores of tests to discover which mutations they do or do not carry. Now, a new clinical trial, nicknamed ‘the Master Protocol,’ is pioneering a new approach that uses new, fast DNA sequencing technology to circumvent these problems. Patients with squamous cell lung cancer will undergo a single test that scans for 16 different mutations. They will then be assigned to different drug regimens depending on which mutations they have. Those without any of the targeted mutations will receive a drug that directs their immune system to attack the cancer.